Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Second Time as a Girl

Second Verse Same as the First-What to Wear

I had another date and presented as a girl. This time it was with a girl who was presenting as a girl.

In telling people about it, everyone asked what I’d wear. I found it a bit annoying. As if that was the defining characteristic of being a girl. And it wasn’t a fetish event; it was just a date. But somehow saying, “jeans and a T shirt” didn't feel like the right answer. I was going out to present as a girl! Do girls go out wearing just jeans and a T shirt?

Apparently not, based on the suggestions I received. OK, so many of the suggestions were from men on the site where I cam. I can’t really count those. Except that those men represent a certain heteronormative expectation of what a girl should be. (Or they are just a bunch of freaks.)

For example, one guy asked if I’d be wearing pantyhose. The date was on August 20, in Washington DC. It was 101 degrees in the shade. I don’t think any woman in the District was wearing pantyhose that day. So no, I would not be wearing pantyhose.

I bought a new pink tank top that was mesh in the back, in a floral pattern. With a new pink bra with white polka dots. And jeans.

Jeans? Really? On a day when you could smoke fish on the side walk? So I went through my skirts. Many of them aren’t street legal; they don’t cover my butt.

But before the date I started noticing skirt lengths a lot more. Women’s skirts are really short. Like, really short. Good lord. So I went back through my skirts and decided that many of them were acceptable.

But still I resisted the idea. As if wearing a skirt was the final step in presenting as a girl, but wearing jeans meant I could still claim a bit of my boyness. As if I might be pulled over by the gender police and I needed plausible denialability. “Officer, what do you mean I’m trying to present as a girl? I’m wearing jeans!”

Which I realized was ridiculous. If I was presenting as a girl, I was crossing that line whether I was wearing jeans or a skirt.

In the end I was just like everyone else. What would I wear? How short would my skirt be? How revealing my top? Apparently that’s what defines a girl; how much of her body she reveals.

I wore a skirt. Black, just about an inch above the knee. And pink high tops. (And no pantyhose.)

I wore make up, this time with eye shadow and some better concealer. I felt a bit better about my appearance. Did I pass “better”? I don’t know. I felt a bit better about it.

Stepping Back Outside

Once again I was terrified the moment I stepped outside. Like I’d entered an alien landscape and had to get to my car as fast as possible. But as soon as I was out of my neighborhood I relaxed.

A friend told me that most people don’t really care what other people wear; most people just want to be left alone. And another said that most people only notice things right in their face.

And sure enough, on the drive over no one even looked at me. I hit several stop lights as the lead car, with large numbers of people crossing the street. (Summer in DC brings lots of tourists.) But none of them even looked at my car. They were all consumed with their own lives.

I parked at my date’s house and stepped out of the car. No one on the street noticed me. It was completely uneventful. My date and I sat in her kitchen catching up. When one of her roommates came home my date leaned in and asked how I wanted to be introduced.

Yikes. I gave her my girl name and that was that. Her roommate smiled and said hi to me as a girl.

It felt really nice to meet someone as a girl. Or have them meet me as a girl. Like they were seeing the real me. Or a more authentic version of me. Or my presentation was more authentic.

When I meet people, especially girls, I spend a lot of time and energy to let them know I’m not like other guys. I have always felt it very important to get that across. It was nice to let my presentation speak for itself this one time.

And when I’ve spent time with guys, especially extremely heteronormative guys, it always makes me uncomfortable. Because it seems like there is always a moment when they look around the room and realize there are only “guys” in the room, so they can suddenly start saying their “guy bullshit” or start acting all “guy”. And it’s OK because everyone there is in on it, because we are all “guys”.

And I’m never sure exactly how to respond. I’d prefer them to know that I’m not one of them. Often, I’d prefer to just leave.

Getting Undressed

Anyway, that was about it for my girlness that day. We went up to her room and had sexynaughtyfuntimes. Which was wonderful. My wig didn’t last very long and my make up came off fairly quickly.

I didn’t feel like I had switched back to a boy. I just felt like I wasn’t wearing a wig or make up anymore.

After that we went out to dinner. I wore girl jeans and a boy T shirt. Was I a boy again? Was I still a girl?

I’ve heard some trans people say they have a male persona and a female persona. I’ve always maintained that I’m just me. But the last couple weeks I’ve been feeling more split. Like maybe I do have a male persona and a female persona and I want to be that female persona more. Not that I want to present as a girl more, but I want to inhabit that persona more.

Which smacked up against my older conception of myself. Was I changing? Was I wrong and now right? Or was something else going on?

Something Else May Be Going On

As I thought about it more I kept going back to meeting the roommate and her seeing me as a girl (or a transgirl at least). And it wasn’t that I was a different person (or persona) than if I had been wearing jeans and a T shirt. It was that she was seeing me as a different person.

People treat men and women differently. We have a different set of expectations, assumptions, preconceived notions. We even have different titles and colors.We all know that a man can say something and it means one thing and when a woman can say the same thing it can mean something different. We are all aware of these double standards.

So when I present as a girl, the set of assumptions people bring to me are different. And I have to react to them and play off them in a different manner than I would if I were presenting as a boy.

So it’s not that my personality is different when I present as a girl, it’s that I have to adjust my behavior as well as what I say and how I say it to effectively communicate my meaning.

I make it sound like I was off giving speeches as a girl. I think all I said to her was, “yes,” and maybe, “uh huh,” and possibly, “oh.”

But I was aware of those differences, that set of assumptions, and maybe feeling a bit paralyzed by them. But they feel like a better set of assumptions than the set of assumptions used for guys.

I’m still not sure I was meant to be a girl. Or want to present as one more often. Maybe I want to be something more in-between. The main thing is, I want to be me. And I’ve always found that a challenge in our society. But I don’t plan on moving, so I guess I need to figure this out.

1 comment:

MadisonBleu said...

Interested post. I enjoyed reading it.